Facilitator Spotlight: Deb Henry!

Facilitator Spotlight: Deb Henry!

Debbie Henry first started volunteering with the Center nine years ago. She worked with 7-9 year olds in the Thursday night Bereavement groups.  About two years later, when she retired from her career as a middle and high school teacher, Debbie wanted to spend more time with children, and remembered Center staff member Marie’s mention of the Intercultural Program.

As a retired teacher, Deb is aware of the difficulty many students face in their middle school years, and of the additional challenges encountered by English Language Learners, Debbie saw the importance of the program.  As she recalled, “It sounded wonderful and [was] another opportunity to learn from and work with children! And hopefully make a positive impact in their lives!”

The Intercultural Program is incredibly grateful for the steady and passionate presence of Debbie and facilitators like her, particularly this year.  With the Center’s services being provided virtually and Portland Public Schools following a hybrid model of online and in-person classes, the students have experienced great transition.  As Debbie writes, “It has been difficult!” 

Keeping the students engaged can be challenging! There are responsibilities and distractions from siblings at home, and remote learning already demands a great deal of screen-time. There are also no snacks, meals, hands-on activities, and games in virtual programming that the children typically thrive on at the Center.

Debbie writes, “I do think this year has been better than last Spring!”  True to the compassionate model of the Center, “we show up for those that find comfort in participating.”  Meeting the students in their homes also allows for glimpses that give a fuller understanding of their situations and personalities. We see their energetic younger siblings, their stylish LED-lighting, or they may choose to share their favorite toys.

Thanks to the welcoming and compassionate presence of people like Debbie, the students who come to Center programming this year engage deeply and continue to inspire all of us with their incredible wisdom, resilience, and joy.

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